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Imposter Syndrome: How To Not Let It Hold You Back

Imposter Syndrome: How To Not Let It Hold You Back
Carly Jacobs

‘Oh my god for real? Do you blog for a job? That’s SO COOL!!! How come you get to do that? Do heaps of people read your blog?’ 

I was at a pub for a mate’s birthday and I just met a whole table of new people and the first thing people always ask you is what you do for work.

‘Uh… I wouldn’t say heaps, but enough that it kind of works. I’m pretty lucky I guess… what do you do?’

On the way home Mr Smaggle gently chastised me.

‘Whenever you tell someone you write for a living, you always downplay it like it happened by accident.’

I replied ‘Well it kind of did happen by accident…’

imposter syndrome

He then pointed out that I have a double degree in Education and Arts with majors in English and Journalism. I have over a decade of digital writing experience and I’ve been published and featured in dozens of magazines and newspapers. None of that was accidental.

It feels so freaking weird writing about this because I have such severe imposter syndrome, I don’t even feel like I’ve achieved enough to warrant HAVING imposter syndrome and then actually writing about it. How totally backwards is that?

If you’re wondering what imposter syndrome is, here’s a rundown. The telltale sign of impostor syndrome is a disconnect between perceived and actual performance. “Impostors” have ample objective evidence that they are doing well—good performance reports, promotion history, grades, etc. Yet they feel that somehow they’ve been faking it or skating along on thin ice. Any minute now, they are going to be unmasked and revealed to be a fraud.

One striking characteristic of the syndrome is that, although impostors crave acknowledgement and praise for their accomplishments, they do not feel comfortable when they receive it. Instead, praise makes them feel anxious because they secretly feel they do not deserve it. After all, they think, I’m just faking it—unlike everyone else here who seems to know what they’re doing.

It’s also very much an internalised thing. ‘Imposters’ seem (and usually are) very capable and confident but they’re constantly second-guessing themselves and worrying about being exposed.

If any of this sounds familiar, you need to listen to this week’s episode of Straight & Curly – it’s all about imposter syndrome and how to deal with it.

Also I tell Kelly some kind of big news and she totally freaks out. Very worth a listen.

Do you suffer from imposter syndrome?

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  1. KezUnprepared 6 years ago

    Oh I have had it since I started hanging out with the cool group in primary school. It starts young! I mean, I didn’t see it as ‘the cool group’ at the time (I wasn’t interested in being popular), but I knew I had some friends who were well liked by boys and girls and it seemed weird to me that I was deemed good(?) enough to be one of them. Which obviously since then I’ve realised that it’s a bit hollow of course, but I still find it weird that people like me. I’ve had to work hard on remembering I’m worthy of things (and great and inspiring people) that come my way! I think that looking different (back when Asian kids were unusual where I live and Pauline Hanson was doing her disgusting thing) made me feel like I already had a handicap so nobody would think I was attractive or cool. Sad huh?

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 6 years ago

      Oh my god that’s heart breaking and I totally get it. Like when I was 19 this really hot guy was interested in me and I was like ‘Me? Does he have some sort of chubby nerd fetish?’

  2. Raquel 6 years ago

    Holy shit Carly! Wow!

  3. Missy D 6 years ago

    Great episode! And congratulations. 🙂 Such wonderful news, I can’t wait to follow you on the journey that’s to come.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 6 years ago

      Thank you! I’ll still keep doing my regular content, with just a few parenting bits thrown in.

  4. Luc 6 years ago

    I’m an academic in the Humanities, and so many of my female grad students have imposter syndrome. They are brilliant, hard working and make amazing choices, and still don’t think they should be doing a PhD. They still don’t think they are good enough. When they mention imposter syndrome, I always remind them of all the mediocre dudes who have taught them. Who doesn’t deserve to be there?
    It’s about respecting your achievements, as you would acknowledge those achievements in a friend!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 6 years ago

      Oh totally! Imposter syndrome is HUGE in women, which is why I talk about it a lot. I love this ‘It’s about respecting your achievements, as you would acknowledge those achievements in a friend!’ great reminder!

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